A Muslim Comedian
On a recent drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, I binge listened to comedic social commentator Hassan Minaj’s Netflix Series, “The Patriot Act.” In season 1, episode 5, Minaj introduced hype psychology, and the likely unfamiliar clothing-brand Supreme.
A Clothing Brand
Though you’ve likely never heard of Supreme, the brand itself is the all-time master of hype – so much so, that while still being mostly unknown, Supreme has grown its business from one skate shop to a billion dollar business with a 10x+ product resale value.
This episode made me ask, “what is the Jewish lens of Supreme’s success and hype-methodology, and how can we use this to rapidly sell out Jewish programs?”
It’s Like Pulling Teeth
A problem many Jewish organizations face with Jewish engagement is slow, low, or no program enrollment. This results in high stress and a significant amount of time lost to recruitment and “all hands on deck” last-minute scrambling.
We chalk it up to that’s how “they” (pick one: high schoolers, college students, young adults) are. But the truth is, Jewish programs can reach maximum capacity within 24 hours of going-live. This is the Jewish value of alacrity, and according to Jewish wisdom our constituents possess this trait.
Applied Jewish Wisdom
The first place alacrity appears in the Torah is when Abraham arose early to “sacrifice” Isaac (Genesis, 22:3). Rashi explains, zerizim makdimim l’mitzvoth, or the alacritous arise early to perform mitzvot (Pesachim, 4a).
If Jewish engagement, especially Jewish learning, is the greatest mitzvah (Talmud Shabbat 127a), a repairing the world a core Jewish principle, how can we ignite the trait of alacrity to ensure the success of our organizations?
Lessons From Supreme’s Hype Methodology
Let’s learn from four methods used by Supreme that can yield strong and consistent recruitment and engagement results.
Method 1: Unexpected Collaborations: Sophisticated Consumers Don’t Mind Brand Contamination
Early on, Supreme laid the groundwork for long-term success through unexpected collaborations. Supreme, a skate brand at its core, teamed with more established brands like Nike, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton to build its coveted brand.
Why Should Established Brands Collaborate?
- Keeping it Fresh! Unique collaborations go beyond what customers expect, bringing on intrigue, excitement and a sense of risk that consumers love.
- Giving Traditional a Modern Edge: Well-known brands partner with Supreme to keep up with youth culture and to make their brand exciting for Millennials.
- Collaborations Drive Brand Awareness: Louis Vuitton and Supreme’s partnership, for example, has helped activate the next generation of luxury consumers (Corry 2018, as cited in Beauloye, 2018).
If you are an Established Organization Ask Yourself
What organization can I collaborate with that will keep our programs fresh, give traditional a modern edge, and drive brand awareness to a new audience? For more on this form of collaboration read my article on Brick & Mortars and startups uniting.
Hype Collaboration Jewish Style: JBBSLA, JQ International, & Career Up Now
When establishing Career Up Now in Los Angeles, I knew we needed to partner with more established organizations and those on the fringe of Jewish life. Our first event, Mix, Mingle, and Mentor was an unexpected collaboration of JQ International, Jewish Big Brother Big Sisters of Los Angeles, and Career Up Now. And post surveys indicated participants found the partnership refreshing, innovative, and desirable. As organizations, we each benefited by reaching new audiences and delivering a memorable program.
Method 2: Scarcity Driving Action: Selling Out in 30 Seconds
Imagine your next Jewish event sold out in 30 seconds. Recently, Supreme released an aluminum suitcase in partnership with Rimowa for $1,600, and the whole line sold out in 30 seconds. Supreme intentionally limits inventory to create a sense of urgency and drive demand.
Jews + Cruise + Hype = Sellout
One example of organizations collaborating and leveraging hype-methodology is the yearly fundraiser by AEPi and Northeastern Hillel called Jews Cruise. Last year this, this 600 person event sold out in 28 minutes. Whoever thinks college students are apathetic to signing up and paying for Jewish programs should take notes from AEPi and Northeastern Hillel.
Make A Commitment to Selling Out in 24 Hours
Based upon the hype-principle of scarcity, I’ve set a goal for all of the Career Up Now branded programs to “sell out” in less than 24 hours, at least 1 month before a program. With grassroots support from the Schusterman Family Foundation we acid-tested this model with the launch of our Women of Wisdom series and have accomplished our recruitment goal for each of our programs since.
Scarcity trains target audiences, to know that unless you RSVP or book your ticket within 24 hours of the “event drop,” you’ll likely encounter a “we’ve reached maximum capacity” message. This message implies you should have registered sooner. And they do the next time around.
Communication is Key
The benefit of selling out well in advance is that you can move on to planning the next program and continue your hype culture. Imagine never-again stressing about your recruitment efforts.
Method 3: Remain Underground
Supreme has remained an underground brand for 24+ years and is still killing it. How?
Slash Your Marketing Budget – Rely on your FanBase
Supreme relies on their fan base for organic promotion rather than large scale paid advertisements on television, print, or social media. This ensures only their targeted market is in the know. Thus why you’ve likely never heard of them.
The Jewish Underground
Let’s translate this hype-method of “ being underground” into the Jewish world; if the individuals you are engaging are not connected to the mainstream Jewish community, and they are promoting your programs to their friends who are also not Jewishly connected, you won’t end up with the same crowd at every program. Your audience will stay fresh, you will remain underground, and you will save a ton on ineffective marketing.
Why Haven’t I Heard Of You?
My favorite thing to hear regarding Career Up Now from those currently engaged with local Jewish communities is, “I’m surprised I’ve never heard of your organization.” Remaining underground requires intentionality, and it has its drawbacks, typically when it comes to traditional funders who have their finger on the pulse of traditional Jewish life. But for engaging Jews of low Jewish engagement who have been disenfranchised from the traditional Jewish community, remaining underground is a key to accomplishing this goal.
Method 4: Establish a Dedicated Following
Supreme has a dedicated following that acts with alacrity. To create this dedicated and alacritous following Supreme has combined hype methods described above: collaboration, scarcity, and undergroundness. Rather than drinking the Supreme Kool-Aid, their following is on a Supreme IV-drip. Their followers promote Supreme through word of mouth, social media, and by wearing their products.
A way that Career Up Now has created a dedicated following is by immediately empowering those inspired by the Career Up Now community is to have first access to our programs by serving on the planning task forces. These task forces enable individuals to secure first access for themselves and their friends. This approach yields fast sell out once our programs launch and alacritous registrants.
By implementing some of Supreme’s best-practices for engagement you can activate the trait of alacrity, fill up your programs, and empower your constituents to, as Rashi comments, wake up early to fulfill mitzvot (Pesachim, 4a).
Have you used hype-methods to sell out? If so, please do share in the comments section below.
Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D., is the co-founder of Career Up Now and is passionate about developing simple solutions for complex problems. He is the co-chair of the City of Beverly Hills’ Startup Incubator, an Eli Talk and Birthright Israel Fellow, an Upstart graduate, a member of the Schusterman ROI Community, writes for pleasure, and speaks nationally on new methods for Jewish engagement. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
83% of millennials are more likely to visit Gucci than those over 35s, by Will Corry, The Marketing Blog, February 16, 2017.
Beauloye, F. E. (2018, September 25). Marketing to Millennials: How Luxury Brands Build Hype. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://luxe.digital/digital-luxury-trends/marketing-hype-millennials/